Monday, May 2, 2011

Monday thoughts and my compass

I am still tired from the past week.  It felt wonderful to sleep at home.  The dogs were thrilled to see me.  The cats crawled on my back.  My wife was relieved that I was safe and reasonably sound.  I expect it will take a few days to get over the tired feeling.

The news today was filled with great exultation over the killing of Osama Bin Laden.  While I am glad that he is not a threat anymore, I don't feel celebratory about the whole thing.  Killing is not something that I like and rejoicing in the killing of someone, no matter how heinous, seems strange.  I feel a bit solemn about it, considering how many lives have been lost and how many billions spent to culminate in this event.  I like celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and happy times.  His dismal countenance, dismal deeds, and dismal death don't make me want to celebrate.  

Tonight, I will be doing the meeting topic on Step Five--Admitted to God, to ourselves and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. I have found this step to be such a relief.  And every time that I hear a fifth step, I feel comforted that the person is opening up and getting some of the weight of the past sloughed off.

A lot of people dread this step.  Some don't feel worthy to tell someone about their past or wrongs.  Some think that they will be judged by the person listening.  What I experienced was acceptance. I was accepted. I was accepted as I was, and I was able to dump all the pretense and BS and move on. I was  lighter.  The fifth step experience did a lot to me and a lot for me.  I felt trusting and trusted.  It certainly changed how I looked at myself and others--not with self-effacing dislike but with a degree of tenderness that I had not experienced before.  I could truly say, "This is who I am, defects and good stuff.  All me."

I think that I truly began to feel peacefulness when I did my fifth step.  I trusted my sponsor and what I heard in Al-Anon that I would have a joyous life if I would deal with my past.  By telling the truth to another human being, I felt accepted and experienced true humility for the first time.

I knew that I had been so lonely and crying out on the inside since I was a child. I just didn't know how to bring people closer to me. To try and fill that need I have done some really insane things. I have heard that we are filled with a huge hole in our psyche from alcoholism.  I had hoped that people would fill that hole but that didn't work.  I realize now that only the God of my understanding can fill up that hole.

I still struggle with my defects.  But I realize that coming clean and being honest about my past, my feelings, my wrongs lifts a big burden and brings a sense of release.  I had finally told another person things that I had never told anyone else. And that brought a sense of freedom, tranquility, serenity, and peace within myself. I have gotten better self-knowledge--another term, as I see it, for humility. I have gotten a deeper, surer, more grateful sense of living.

And that is what I want to celebrate today--living.  The peace within is what I am so grateful for in recovery.  I can go through tumultuous things now without feeling so lost and anxious.  I believe that my internal compass is set on a good course at last.


  1. I feel the same way about the news of Osama being killed.

    On the 5th step, I didn't experience the dramatic spiritual awakening a lot of people talk about, but it has been a slow and gradual spiritual experience as the result of the acceptance I found from my sponsor and friends when I did the 5th.

    Thanks for another great post. Cheers!

  2. The 5th Step allowed me to put down all the guilt and shame I'd carried for so many years. Like you, I felt that I was seen, and accepted - faults and frailties included. It taught me to be far more tolerant.

  3. He may not be a threat anymore,but his organization still is.

  4. I ditto the thoughts on Bin Laden and pray for the victims of 9/11. Thanks for this post, Syd.

  5. "solemn" You have no idea how stuck on the tip of my tongue this word was until I read it here. I wanted to say that this whole news frenzy brings such a solemn feeling within me. Never a reason to celebrate a persons death. That person is (no matter how heinous)a child of God. Someone's father. Someone's son. Someone's friend.

  6. I'm with you on the Bin Laden thing. I don't want to go out and wave a flag and cheer. It's a horrible thing, what he did and no I won't say he didn't get his justice, finally.

    I can understand others feeling differently though.

  7. i am glad you you found that way and can celebrate the living...i think it a far healthier thing to do...i agree, i was rather sickened by the celebrations...of course they did it years ago but does that mean we should...

  8. Fifth step good.

    I feel the same about bin Laden. Thsi quote has been running around Facebook today so I'll post it here in case any one of your readers is interested.

    "I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." - Martin Luther King, Jr

  9. Huh. You and I wrote about basically the same things today, although framed differently.
    Great minds...

  10. I am with you on your discomfort about the celebration surrounding Osama's death. It makes me feel sick and uncomfortable. Overall, I am feeling very uneasy these days.

  11. I agree about the spontaneous celebrations of OBL's death. I winced at the college-age crowds chanting "USA...USA" like it was a sports rally. Justice has a more solemn affect.

  12. I feel the way you guys do. I think it's sad that death has to occur and I don't think I could celebrate anyone's.
    I did a couple of 5th steps and I do remember feeling relieved, but they were a long time again and judging how in need of acceptance I'm feeling, I'm wondering if it's time to do another one. I have been feeling different than everyone, lately - at work, meetings, the world. It is great to read these blog posts and comments, though, and read thoughts I can relate to. Thank you for posting, everyone.


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.